Two Second-Half Fourth Downs Should Have Been Converted, Manning Says
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – To Peyton Manning, there was no excuse.
The opunities were there, the Colts' eight-time Pro Bowl quarterback said.
And the plays were makeable.
The Colts, after taking an eight-point lead early in the second half, did not score again until just over a minute remained, and during that time, the Tennessee Titans pulled away for a 31-21 victory in front of 69,143 at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn.
Particularly disturbing, Manning said, was the failure during that span to convert what he considered two convertible fourth-down situations.
"Those were two missed opportunities at a pretty reasonable down and distance," Manning said. "We've been pretty good on fourth down until this point."
The first fourth-down situation came late in the third quarter.
The Titans tied it, 14-14, with just over three minutes remaining in the quarter, and with :59 seconds remaining, the Colts faced 4th-and-1 from their 49.
Running back Dominic Rhodes ran up the middle. One-yard loss.
The Titans then drove 17 yards in six plays, taking their first lead since the first quarter on a 48-yard field goal by Rob Bironas.
On the Colts' next series, they faced 4th-and-2 on the Titans 34.
Manning threw to his right toward wide receiver Marvin Harrison, who ran a quick out pattern. Former Colts cornerback Nick Harper broke up the pass to give the Titans possession,
Thirteen plays and 66 yards later, Titans running back LenDale White's 1-yard run gave the Titans a 24-14 lead and the Colts never got closer than 10 points again.
"We're fourth down and two feet and we didn't make it," Dungy said. "On the other one, we have about three yards to go. It's too far to kick a field goal. We have confidence in our offense. Their defense stepped up and made them. That certainly turned the momentum, no question."
Said Manning, "That kind of ended up being the difference in the game. Those are fourth downs we have to be able to convert. It'd be nice to be able to get them on third down, is what we'd like to be able to do. Those were really disappointing."
DOUBLE DOSE OF DALLAS: Dallas Clark hardly could have timed things better.
Clark, a year after setting a franchise record for touchdown receptions by a tight end, hadn't caught a touchdown pass in the season's first six games.
On Monday, the Colts played their biggest game of the season. And Clark had his biggest game, too.
Clark, a sixth-year veteran, caught a pair of touchdown passes from Manning in the Colts' loss to the Titans Monday night – a 10-yarder late in the first quarter and a 19-yarder early in the third quarter to give the Colts an eight-point lead.
The 10-yarder was the first time this season the Titans allowed a first-quarter touchdown.
Clark finished the game with seven receptions for a team-high 94 yards.
ADDAI, HAYDEN OUT: As expected, running back Joseph Addai didn't play against Tennessee Monday.
Cornerback Kelvin Hayden and safety Bob Sanders didn't, either.
Addai, Hayden and Sanders, each of whom were starters at the beginning of the season, were declared inactive by the Colts shortly before kickoff of their game against the Titans at LP Field on Monday night.
Addai missed a second consecutive game with a hamstring injury, Sanders missed a fifth consecutive game with a knee injury, and Hayden missed a third consecutive game with a knee injury. The trio was among eight players declared inactive by the club.
The Colts' inactives Monday were:
Sanders, Hayden, Addai, linebacker Buster Davis, offensive lineman Dan Federkeil, wide receiver Roy Hall, tight end Jacob Tamme and defensive end Marcus Howard.
Running back Dominic Rhodes made a second consecutive start for Addai, while Tim Jennings made a third consecutive start at cornerback for Hayden and Melvin Bullitt made a fifth consecutive start for Sanders.
UGOH STARTS: Tony Ugoh, who started the first two games of the season before sustaining a groin injury in Week 2, returned to the starting lineup at left tackle Monday.
Ugoh, a second-round selection in the 2007 NFL Draft, missed the Colts' Week 3 loss to Jacksonville with the injury, and had played as a reserve the last three games.
Charlie Johnson, who started at left tackle in Ugoh's place, moved to left guard, where rookie Jamey Richard had started the last three games.
HOW THEY SCORED
COLTS 07 00 07 07 – 21
TITANS 03 03 08 17 – 31
TITANS 3, COLTS 0
Rob Bironas 34 FG, 9:43 remaining first quarter. Drive: 11 plays, 40 yards, 5:17. Key play: Brandon Jones 7 pass from Kerry Collins on 3rd-and-5 from Titans 49.
COLTS 7, TITANS 3
Dallas Clark 10 pass from Peyton Manning (Adam Vinatieri kick), 3:27 remaining first quarter. Drive: Four plays, 37 yards, 1:21. Key play: Clark 26 pass from Manning on 1st-and-10 from Titans 37.
COLTS 7, TITANS 6
Bironas 44 FG, 14:14 remaining second quarter. Drive: Nine plays, 40 yards, 4:13. Key play: Jones 13 pass from Collins on 3rd-and-11 from Titans 38.
COLTS 14, TITANS 6
Clark 19 pass from Manning (Vinatieri kick), 11:06 remaining second quarter. Drive: Nine plays, 64 yards, 3:54. Key play: Chad Simpson two 2-yard runs on 3rd-and-1 from Titans 32 and Titans 21.
COLTS 14, TITANS 14
LenDale White 1 run (Ahmard Hall pass from Collins), 3:21 remaining third quarter. Drive: 14 plays, 80 yards, 7:45. Key play: Illegal contact penalty on Colts cornerback Marlin Jackson gives Titans 1st-and-10 at Colts 42 after incomplete pass on 3rd-and-4.
TITANS 17, COLTS 14
Bironas 48 FG, 14:45 remaining fourth quarter. Drive: Six plays, 17 yards, 1:09. Key play: Titans stop Colts running back Dominic Rhodes for 1-yard loss on 4th-and-1 from Colts 49.
TITANS 24, COLTS 14
White 1 run (Bironas kick), 4:37 remaining fourth quarter. Drive: 13 plays, 66 yards, 6:51. Key play: Lavelle Hawkins 13 pass from Collins on 3rd-and-8 from Colts 38.
TITANS 31, COLTS 14
Chris Johnson 16 run (Bironas kick), 3:31 remaining fourth quarter. Drive: One play, 16 yards, :07. Chris Hope interception 39 interception return gives Titans 1st-and-10 at Colts 16.
TITANS 31, COLTS 21
Manning 1 run (Vinatieri kick), 1:17. Drive: 11 plays, 71 yards, 2:14. Key play: Chad Simpson 15 pass from Manning on 3rd-and-6 from Colts 49.